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hazelnut buttercrunch toffee brittle

26 Oct

I have finally settled back into my kitchen after being away from it for over two months. Since I’ve landed back onto Canadian soil, I have made the following: marble cake, key lime pie, lemon cheesecake tart, mini pecan pie, mini carrot cakes, hazelnut shortbread, buttercrunch toffee brittle and coconut bars. Sadly, I wasn’t able to take photos of any of these delightful goodies until I made the buttercrunch toffee because the charger of my beloved SLR is currently on its way in a FedEx package from Vietnam. Yes, the idiot that I am, I forgot the chargers for both my SLR and my point&shoot in Vietnam – although it is because of very mean and bitter and unfair customs officials in Vietnam who were very very very corrupt. But that’s a story for another day.

Let me now introduce you to this super easy yet oh-so-delicious, you-can’t-eat-just-one-or-four-or-five buttercrunch toffee brittle.  I found this recipe on Joy of Baking while I was supposed to be “interning” and being a good reporter, so shhhh, don’t tell anyone, okay? I found hazelnuts on sale the day after Thanksgiving, so I decided to slightly change the recipe by substituting the almonds with the hazelnuts. The layer of toasted hazelnuts at the bottom, followed by the buttercrunch toffee, and the chocolate and hazelnut sprinkles on top…it tastes fantastic! Also, I think this makes a really good gift idea – especially since Christmas is slowly creeping up on us now. Brittle is sold in stores in very pretty cellophane and fancy ribbons for a ridiculous price, and you can make your own (many!!!!) variations at the fraction of the price. Plus, you can then awe your friends with how amazing and talented you are at making these very pretty and yummy goodies.

The brittle is pretty sinful on its own with a nice cold cup of milk, or a hot cup of coffee, but if you’re feeling like living life on the edge, eat the brittle with a homemade sundae or just a couple of scoops of your favourite ice cream. I’ve been eating ice cream like crazy as of late – mostly due to the fact of finding the CUTEST ice cream scoop on the face of the world. So really, the cow tells me to eat ice cream – and I’m not crazy, I promise! Anyhow, enough of my ramblings. Here is what you’re really waiting =)

a plate full of deliciousness

a plate full of deliciousness

crunchy brittle paired with ice cream - scooped with the coolest ice cream scoop ever

crunchy brittle paired with ice cream - scooped with the coolest ice cream scoop ever

crunchy layer of hazelnuts topped with buttercrunch toffee layer, smothered in milk chocolate and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts

crunchy layer of hazelnuts topped with buttercrunch toffee layer, smothered in milk chocolate and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts

notice the earring that the Cool Cow Scoop is wearing?

notice the earring that the Cool Cow Scoop is wearing?

okay, at this point, I was just having too much fun =)

okay, at this point, I was just having too much fun =)


Recipe

Tips (from Joy of Baking):

  • do not make the brittle on a humid day
  • use a wooden spoon to stir, since it is easier to clean than a metal spoon
  • have all your ingredients ready to go, especially the baking soda and vanilla
  • the vanilla adds flavour, while the baking soda aids in browning and allows for a lighter texture
  • store in an airtight container to prevent the brittle from softening
  • this recipe makes one pound of brittle (which is barely enough for you to enjoy AND to share with others =P)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups slivered almonds or chopped hazelnuts (or both!)
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 6 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

How-to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place almonds/hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Once the nuts are cooled, you should now chop them. The recipe calls for a food processor, but I found that it pulverized them too fine. I found it was easier and tastier when you just gave them a rough chop with a knife.
  3. Sprinkle half of the nuts into a 8×10 inch buttered baking sheet. Set aside.
  4. In a heavy saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and water
  5. Have the baking soda and vanilla ready to go at this point.
  6. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil, avoiding over-stirring, until the mixture reaches 285F on a candy thermometer (soft-crack stage).
  7. Immediately remove the pan from heat, and add the baking soda and vanilla all at once.
  8. Immediately pour the mixture evenly onto your baking sheet over the almonds/hazelnuts.
  9. Sprinkle the chocolate over top. The hot caramel mixture will soften and melt the chocolate. Using an off-set spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the caramel mixture.
  10. Sprinkle with the remaining nuts and refrigerate until completely cooled.
  11. Once cooled, you can break or cut the brittle into your desired sizes and shapes.
  12. Mangia ❤

xo dessertchick

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bridal mania pt 3 – cute as can be desserts

15 Sep

This is the last in the trilogy of bridal mania posts. I just wanted to show you guys the cute mini versions of my strawberry Oreo pies that I made. They were so much fun to make, and probably the easiest dessert for this bridal shower. I simply doubled the recipe, bought a bunch of disposable mini tart shells and pressed the graham cracker crust into them. Then just scoop the filling into each tart shell and top off with half a strawberry.

The Oreo truffles I usually make are smaller but Shirley asked me to make them a bit bigger for the bridal shower. So, I obliged and it made the dipping a bit more difficult – not to mention the fact that the hot kitchen made it impossible for the chocolate to set. I ended up making these in shifts and putting them into the fridge until they set. It took a bit longer than usual, but they are soo worth it.

In the end, it was a lot of fun to have an excuse to bake these many goodies. I think the selection was pretty good: refreshing strawberry oreo pies, decadent oreo truffles, rich buttermilk chocolate cupcakes and moist buttermilk vanilla cupcakes. Delicious.

a taste of summer: mini oreo strawberry pies

a taste of summer: mini oreo strawberry pies

a taste of decadence: giant hand-dipped oreo truffles

a taste of decadence: giant hand-dipped oreo truffles

a taste of everything: the bridal shower desserts

a taste of everything: the bridal shower desserts

xo dessertchick

dynamite cookies and pretzel fudge

8 Jun
When I think about being a kid, I think about eating fudge. Whether it’s just plain and simple chocolate fudge, or ooey gooey rocky road fudge, or the delicious peanut butter fudge – just the thought of those overly-sweet and melt-in-your-mouth treats makes me want to be five years old again.
Work has been a pain lately, so between avoiding summer school and dealing with people who want their lattes, I decided to make fudge as some much-needed therapy and anger management. It’s a lot easier, cheaper and satisfying than seeing a shrink 😉
Instead of keeping it simple, I thought I’d try something new! Let me present you my double decker dynamite fudge:  cookies and cream fudge on top, and salty pretzels sandwiched in dark chocolate fudge. These babies are best enjoyed in small dosages, but make the toothache soo worth it.
Enjoy!
a bowl of in-your-face sweetness

a bowl of in-your-face sweetness

cookies & cream meets sweet & salty

cookies & cream meets sweet & salty

seriously, oreo cookies can go into absolutely anything

seriously, oreo cookies can go into absolutely anything

all wrapped up nicely to share with your friends...

all wrapped up nicely to share with your friends...

...but sometimes, sharing can be hard ;)

...but sometimes, sharing can be hard 😉

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Baker’s dark chocolate squares (225 grams)
  • 1 package Baker’s white chocolate squares (225 grams)
  • 2 cans of condensed sweetened milk (250ml each)
  • 20 cookies of your choice – mine were Oreos
  • 25 salted pretzels

How-to:

  1. Microwave the dark chocolate with one can of condensed milk for 2 to 3 minutes, or until chocolate is nearly all melted, stirring thoroughly after each minute.
  2. Spread the mixture into a square 8-inch pan (lined with parchment paper), and top with pretzels (leave them whole, when you cut the fudge later, you’ll end up with an even amount of pretzels throughout), making sure to press them slightly into the fudge.
  3. Repeat melting the white chocolate with the second can of condensed milk.
  4. Break the cookies into quarters, and stir into the white chocolate mixture. Spread that on top of the dark chocolate and the pretzels.
  5. Refrigerate until firm – about 2  hours. Cutting is easiest with a knife dipped into hot water.
  6. Eat (and maybe share) 🙂

xo dessertchick

cupcakes with bite pt 2

30 Mar

So after all the prep and the waiting (the how-to for these cupcake bites can be found here), the dipping and decorating was the most time consuming but also the most fun! I found that letting the chocolate drip down a little bit made these cuties look more like authentic cupcakes. I also came across cute mini easter cupcake liners, so I used them for these cupcake bites.  Here is what mine ended up looking like =)

my workstation

my workstation

colourful spoons!

colourful spoons!

my army of cupcake bites! Let's meet them:

my army of cupcake bites! Let's meet them:

Simple Bites: topped with m&ms

Simple Bites: topped with m&ms

Hippie Bites: flower power

Hippie Bites: flower power

Glamour Bites: crystallized sugar and m&m jewels

Glamour Bites: crystallized sugar and m&m jewels

Clown Bites: confetti lovin'

Clown Bites: confetti lovin'

Pretty Bites: butterflies

Girly Bites: butterflies

Kooky Bites: round sprinkles galore!

Kooky Bites: round sprinkles galore!

Dream Bites: pastel star sprinkles

Dream Bites: pastel star sprinkles

the entire cast!

the entire cast!

up close and personal with lemon chiffon

up close and personal with lemon chiffon

up close with oreo truffles

up close with oreo truffles

let's find out what's up with strawberry shortcake

let's find out what's up with strawberry shortcake

and this is where all of these babies are going!

and this is where all of these babies are going!

Once more, the recipe is here =)

xo dessertchick

cupcakes with bite pt 1

30 Mar

I’m not gonna lie: I went a bit crazy with taking pictures for this latest project, so this post will be a two-fer. This first part will be the prep work and such. I’ll include the recipes for another one of Bakerella’s amazing concoctions with a little bit of my own added twist.  The second part will pretty much just show how my cupcake bites ended up looking! I still don’t think they are as cute as Bakerella’s but practice makes perfect, right?

I had to travel to the other end of the city once more to grab baking supplies, and wasn’t able to find the candy molds that Bakerella uses. Hers have ridges and are shallower than mine, but because I was adamant about making these cupcake bites, I decided to improvise. I bought candy molds that are a lot deeper but decided that if I filled them up more and made the cupcake balls bigger, it should work out.

The chocolate candy melts came in a variety of colours but since I made three different flavours for the bites, I thought I should colour coordinate. So, lemon chiffon bites are yellow, strawberry shortcake bites are pink, and the Oreo truffles are blue. As you can see by my earlier post, I also went sprinkle crazy =)

I loved the way the oreo truffles turned out, so I wanted to try out a different variation. I searched a couple of grocery stores, and finally bought a box of strawberry cream sandwich cookies. I used the same technique/idea for the oreo truffles with just one small addition to make the strawberry shortcake truffles.

Bakerella’s famous red velvet cake balls look delish, but I wanted a lighter and more refreshing bite. So I went ahead and baked a lemon chiffon cake, which I then crumbled and mixed with cream cheese frosting.  Tada! Easy peasy! The hardest part was the decorating – and trying not to eat all of these goodies! Recipes are right after the jump!

naked lemon chiffon cupcake balls

naked lemon chiffon cupcake balls

nekkid strawberry shortcake cupcake balls

nekkid strawberry shortcake truffles

and more nakedness: oreo truffles

and more nakedness: oreo truffles

chocolate candy melts: the best invention ever

chocolate candy melts: the best invention ever

filling the candy molds with melted chocolate

filling the candy molds with melted chocolate

popping the tops on

popping the tops on

out of the molds, but with nothing to wear... yet!

out of the molds, but with nothing to wear... yet!

Recipe

Oreo Truffles:

This post has the recipe AND the instructions, and will make 20 medium sized truffles.

Strawberry Shortcake Bites:

The recipe should make 20 to 25 medium sized bites.

  • 1 box of strawberry cream sandwich cookies
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp strawberry jam
  1. Break cookies in half and put them into your food processor. Pulse on high until you’ve ground them pretty fine, roughly like bread crumbs.
  2. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese using your hand mixer or KitchenAid stand mixer, and add the crumbs until combined. Add the strawberry jam and continue mixing.
  3. Roll your mix into 1inch balls and refrigerate for as long as possible.

Lemon Chiffon Bites:

This should also make between 20 to 25 medium sized bites.

  • The recipe can be found here for the lemon chiffon cake – just omit the raspberries for this recipe.
  • 1/2 jar of cream cheese frosting. I was going to make my own, but decided Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker frosting will do for now. Don’t judge me =)
  1. When the cake has cooled completely, you want to crumble the cake as fine as possible.
  2. In a bowl, put half of the cake in and tear it apart with two forks until fine. Then add in the last half, and repeat the process.
  3. Finally, add in cream cheese frosting and combine until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
  4. Roll into 1 inch balls and refrigerate again.

Cupcake Bites Assembly:

  • Oreo truffles
  • Strawberry Shortcake bites
  • Lemon Chiffon bites
  • 2 cups dark/semi sweet/milk chocolate candy melts
  • 1 cup of each: blue/pink/yellow chocolate candy melts
  • sprinkles
  • mini m&ms
  • candy molds
  1. Melt the dark/semi sweet/milk chocolate either in the microwave or using a double boiler. For the microwave, heat on high in 30 second intervals, making sure to mix thoroughly between each round.
  2. Spoon each candy mold 1/3 full. Don’t fill all of them at the same time, or else the chocolate will start to harden before you can finish. I usually did 4 molds at a time.
  3. Take your Oreo truffles/strawberry bites/lemon bites, and put one into each mold, making sure to push down slightly so that the chocolate will get squished and rise up. That way, your bites will attach securely to their chocolate bases.
  4. Once all the molds are filled, refrigerate for 10 minutes. When hardened properly, the cupcake bites will pop out quite easily. I just gave them a little push from the bottom to pop them out.
  5. Repeat this process until you’ve used up all the truffles and bites.
  6. Once all your tops have chocolate bottoms, the fun can begin! Melt the chocolate melts in the microwave. It’s best to work through one colour first before moving on, or else the chocolate will just harden up again. I colour co-ordinated, but don’t feel like you have to!
  7. Dip the cupcake bite tops into the chocolate. I found that using a spoon can help the melted chocolate cover the entire top. You want to make sure that it overlaps or at least meets the chocolate base so that you don’t see the truffle or the bites. Swirl it around a bit to get rid of the excess chocolate. Top each bite with an m&m and sprinkle accordingly to your wishes.
  8. Once they are hardened, you can nosh away!

xo dessertchick

oh yes, please double dip my oreo cheesecake truffles in chocolate

13 Mar

One of my favouritest people from Apple asked me to save her from buying/baking something mediocre for her sleepover party that she’s attending. Jen’s only requests were that whatever I made should be very chocolatey and shouldn’t contain coconut. Pretty easy, right? Well, I pretty much jumped at the opportunity to finally try out the oreo truffle recipe I found on Bakerella‘s website. Seeing as her blog is one of my favouritest blogs, I thought it’d only be a perfect match for Jen’s needs.

After reading the recipe and all of the comments to see if there were any pitfalls to watch out for, I asked Opie to come with me to Bulk Barn, which seems to be the only place anywhere near my house that sells chocolate wafers. I didn’t want to go through all the trouble and possible failure of tempering chocolate to the right stage, so I figured traveling all the way to the east end of the city during 60km/hour winds would be a better idea. Not…..

Anyhow, I made the actual truffle the night before, formed it into the right sized spheres, and then just refrigerated it over night until the following evening. The chocolate for dipping would have to be melted, and since the truffles contain cream cheese, they are fragile enough to start melting or falling apart while dipping. I found that refrigerating them as long as possible did the trick.

This was also my first time dipping truffles into chocolate! I’ve drizzled with chocolate, I’ve baked with chocolate, I’ve spread chocolate onto the bases of macaroons, I’ve written in chocolate, but the task of dipping truffles without creating a hideous end result was daunting. I bought a dipping kit from Bulk Barn which contained the perfect tool for dipping truffles: it looks like a fork with the middle tines missing, and worked like a charm – until it broke after the 10th truffle. For a moment, I thought about trying to tape it into place because it was nearing 11pm. Thank goodness I found a plastic fork in one of my drawers, and decided to create my own dipping tool. Needless to say, buying the kit was a waste of money, and I’ll just use plastic forks from now on!

The only thing I had to adjust from Bakerella’s recipe was the amount of Oreo cookies I used. She saved 7 cookies, but I found that my mix was still too wet, so I added the remaining cookies (except for one, which I ate), and it turned out fine. I found that you had to double dip the white chocolate covered truffles, or else it was still a bit too translucent. The milk chocolate covered ones could get away with only a single dip, but who in their right mind would say no to a double helping of chocolate?

Recipe comes right after the jump:

eenie meenie....

eenie meenie....

....miny moe...

....miny moe...

...aw heck, just eat them all!

...aw heck, just eat them all!

img_2921

and yet another box!

trffle4

one box of truffles is great....

truffle5

...but two boxes are even better!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Oreo cookies (divided… use cookie including the cream center)
  • 8oz. package cream cheese (softened)
  • white and dark chocolate bark/melts/wafers

How-to:

  1. Break Oreo cookies in half and put them into your food processor. Pulse on high until you’ve ground them pretty fine, roughly like bread crumbs.
  2. In a bowl, mix the cream cheese using your hand mixer or KitchenAid standmixer, and add the Oreo crumbs until combined.
  3. Roll your mix into 1inch balls and refrigerate for as long as possible.
  4. Melt the bark in two separate bowls, using the microwave or a double boiler.
  5. Dip each ball in the chocolate, tap off the excess and slide onto a sheet of wax paper to cool. For the white chocolate bark, you’ll have to double dip to get the right colour, but I did it for both chocolate barks because the more chocolate, the merrier.
  6. I used a plastic fork with the two middle tines broken off, and it worked like a charm.
  7. Let the truffles chill. Bon Appetit =)

xo dessertchick

Not quite Valentine’s Day yet

3 Feb

I realize that today is February 3rd, not the 14th, but when I saw these pralines, I just HAD to buy them for myself.

I'm a geek and bought myself Valentine's Day chocolates

I'm a geek and bought myself Valentine's Day chocolates

...and clearly, I wasn't going to wait til the 14th

...and clearly, I wasn't going to wait til the 14th

Let me explain why these bring me so much joy besides the obvious reason that chocolate also equals happiness. I grew up in Germany, and Milka and Kinder chocolates are the main staples of childhood. And for some reason, German Kinder chocolates taste waaay better than the Kinder chocolates you find here. Ever since I moved to Toronto, I’ve been keeping my eyes out in specialty stores and fine food stores for German chocolates. Which is usually followed by weeks of pigging out.

If you ever see any Milka chocolates, do yourself a favour: buy one in every flavour! And then y’all can thank me.

xo dessertchick